The Equestrian Immigration Guide to UK Tier 2 Sportsperson Visas

This guide is for non-EU highly skilled equestrians who are interested in working in the UK. You may be eligible to apply for a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa if you have been offered long term employment by a valid Sponsor Licence holder, who has been endorsed by an appropriate sport governing body.

Calling all elite equestrian riders, coaches, and organisations for Tier 2 Sportpersons visas.

UK Tier 2 Sportsperson for Equestrians: Who can apply?

To be eligible for the Tier 2 Sportsperson visa, your Sponsor will need to have obtained an endorsement for you from the appropriate governing body for your sport. The endorsement is a document that will confirm the following:

  • You are internationally established as a player or coach at the highest level; and
  • Your employment will make a significant contribution to the development of your sport at the highest level in the UK; and
  • You intend to be based in the UK for the duration of your permission to stay; and
  • Your post could not be filled by a suitable settled worker.

You may also need to satisfy the English language skills requirement.

UK Tier 2 Sportsperson for Equestrians: What is the process?

Firstly, you will need to have been offered employment by an employer who holds a valid Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Sponsor Licence. The valid Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder would have been endorsed by the British Horse Society themselves, prior to being eligible to apply for a Sponsor Licence.

Secondly, as mentioned above, your Sponsor will need to have obtained an endorsement from the corresponding governing body. For equestrians, it will be the British Horse Society.

Thirdly, your Sponsor will need to assign a valid Certificate of Sponsorship to you, which is a virtual document that holds information about your employment and personal details.

Fourthly, you may then proceed to make the immigration application for a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa. At this stage, all normal UK Immigration Rules and Regulations apply and you must be cautious not to fall under the general grounds for refusal.

UK Tier 2 Sportsperson for Equestrians: What is Endorsement?

A sport governing body is one that is recognised by one of the home country sports councils. For example, the governing body for football will be the Football Association. The corresponding governing body for equestrians is the British Horse Society, in accordance with Appendix M of the Immigration Rules.

The British Horse Society is approved by the UK Home Office as having endorsement status for the purposes of Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa applications.

The British Horse Society endorses organisations who wish to apply for a Sponsor Licence. This is to prove that they are a genuine sports club that has a legitimate requirement to bring highly skilled migrants from outside the EU to the UK.

The British Horse Society also ensures that the highly skilled migrant seeking sponsorship has met the specific requirements set out by the UK Home Office. The Society has set out appropriate requirements with respect to such endorsements following consultation within the industry and relevant Member Bodies of the British Equestrian Federation; these requirements were then agreed by the Home Office.

UK Tier 2 Sportsperson for Equestrians: Sponsors’ Endorsements?

The British Horse Society will only endorse Sponsoring organisations which hold British Horse Society Training Centre Approval or British Equestrian Federation Member Bodies who hold the highest level of Affiliation.

Prospective Sponsors should also be aware that the maximum length of endorsement is up to 4 years.

UK Tier 2 Sportsperson for Equestrians: Coaches and Riders’ Endorsements?

To be endorsed by the British Horse Society, a coach must be able to provide evidence of coaching experience at international level within the last 3 years. They must also hold internationally regonsied qualifications equivalent to level 3 on the International Group for Equestrians Qualifications (IGEQ) Matrix in the specified discipline.

To be endorsed as a rider by the British Horse Society, the rider must have completed internationally for their country on more than 10 occasions within the last 2 years.

These requirements are reviewed and updated every 12 months and are subject to change. There are also different requirements to satisfy if you are looking to extend your Tier 2 stay. Further, there is a high threshold of evidential burden. If you have any doubts, always seek professional advice from one of our experienced immigration solicitors who are acquainted in dealing with similar situations.

UK Tier 2 Sportsperson for Equestrians: The Immigration Application?

The last stage of the process of acquiring a Tier 2 Sportsperson visa is the immigration application. At this point, you should ensure that your Sponsor holds a valid Sponsor Licence, they have obtained an endorsement for you, and that they have assigned you a Certificate of Sponsorship.

The general grounds for refusal cover a wide range of issues that the Home Office scrutinises for. If you have an adverse UK immigration history, for example, you have been refused Entry Clearance or Leave to Remain previously, you may want to seek legal advice to minimise the impact of those records against you in any further immigration application. If you have criminal convictions (spent or unspent) or have previously provided fraudulent documents with the intention to gain immigration advantage, you are highly recommended to seek professional legal advice as to how to tackle with these issues before you make any further immigration application.

Further, as the Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa is aimed to attract internationally recognised and elite sportsperson, you must be cautious that the Home Office will not refuse your application in light of you character, association or other reasons that may lead the Secretary of State to conclude that your presence in the UK will be conducive to the public good.

If you have any doubts about whether something will affect your immigration application, we strongly advise you to contact us for professional legal advice.

Successful Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa Applications and Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Applications

Obtaining endorsements and recommendations can be a complicated and daunting process as the Home Office imposes strict criteria for each specified document. Further, compiling a strong immigration application requires a professional approach, such that your application would have a highest possibility of success. Our team of experienced lawyers will be able to guide you through the process step by step.

If you are interested in applying under this route, our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa applications and/or Tier 2 Sponsor Licence applications.

Our Immigration Experts are able to give specialist legal information and advice in this area of law. To contact one of our Immigration Solicitors or Immigration Barristers please complete our legal case assessment form and we will get in touch or call us now on 0845 8622 529 for a free telephone assessment and free case assessment.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

If you need professional legal advice about applying for UK Tier 2 Sportsperson visa, please contact us for a case assessment on 02071830570. You can also reach us via our contact form.

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